Monday, July 3, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1056

Knight Terrors is around the corner and will be taking over DC Comics for the summer months. I can only assume, as a result, the ongoing titles probably felt they needed to tie up the current storylines rather than delay.

As a result, Action Comics #1056, which came out last week, finishes the Metallo/Cyborg Superman storyline which has been ongoing for the last few months. I have really enjoyed this storyline immensely. Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has given us a dense story with multiple layers. We have a new take on Metallo, a sort of sympathetic backstory of someone who has only felt powerful when he was holding a weapon or even becoming a weapon. We hear about his love and respect for his sister. We have Cyborg Superman pulling the strings behind the scene before showing himself. And we get the Blue Earth movement in the background, a group aiming hate at aliens on Earth. 

But as I said, it wraps up this issue. I think the Cyborg portion of this ends almost too quickly. There is a sort of quick fix to defeating the issue. Back in the Bendis days, the Phantom Zone projector was used as a 'get rid of the overpowered villain' tool. At least it isn't that. 

And there is one other minor story detail that sort of irked me just a little regarding the Blue Earth folks that I'll touch on below.

The rest of the story just sings. I love the Metallo arc. Johnson has a great grasp of the Superman Family. 

Rafa Sandoval's art is rough and powerful in this issue which is mostly a huge brawl. I think that sort of scratchy feel to things amps up the violence and energy of the brawls.

This is an anthology book. The 'Young Jon' story and the 'Steel' story are okay reads. 

On to the details.

The Cyborg has tapped into this new Superman so the addition of the White Sun powers and Warworld tech he is even more powerful. 

Big story beats deserve big art. This double page spread perfectly shows just how scary this new Cyborg is. Even his word about being a nexus, being everywhere, is terrifying. And he isn't just aiming at Superman. He wants to kill the twins. He wants to hurt the refugees. 

That last panel of this spread of the Cyborg and Superman trading blows was just perfect showing the two titans throwing. Seriously, this really showed just how big a threat Henshaw is here.

But then that quick fix.

The Eradicator tells Conner that his tactile telekinesis can somehow disrupt the Cyborg's commands. Conner can basically cut off the Cyborg from this universe and his drones. (Remember the Cyborg's mind is ironically in the Phantom Zone. He has somehow worked his way into our universe.)

It turns out it works. Conner is able to cut off the Cyborg from both his minions and from escape.

Metallo has been an interesting 'ally' in the back end of this story. His goal is pretty simple - defend his sister. And he doesn't deny who or what he is. I think that has made him pretty interesting. 

I love this exchange. Metallo knows he is a monster. He lays the smack down, destroying the Cyborg's body and stranding Henshaw back in the Zone. 

This whole arc with Metallo has been a meaty dish and has given me a new appreciation for the character. I think his initial New 52 presentation was a little 'one note'. This guy has depth.

With the Cyborg down, his army trying to destroy A-Town collapses. 

Love Sandoval's take on Supergirl. Love that hair!

All that is left is the denouement.

We see Clark Kent writing an editorial praising the diverse and progressive nature of Metropolis. Even the Super-family as a unit is diverse. I love how they represent Metropolis on a micro level.

Tracy Corben is now a robot construct. She is metal under her flesh covering. She feels like a monster now.

I love how Metallo continues to tell her that she isn't a monster. She is who she is despite the technological thing she is beneath the skin. He can even be a resource for her to overcome this new being she is.

I actually have some emotional connection to Metallo now. That is a sign of good writing.

The Corbens are at Steelworks. I guess that is the new S.T.A.R. Labs.

Johnson understands Superman. He knows that Superman would downplay his own goodness, saying anyone would help these two. The Irons know that isn't true. Such a great little line to play up everything that Superman is. 

Here is what irked me about the Blue Earth storyline.

Can I just say it bothered me that the Blue Earth HQ is clearly a Christian church? These are the bad guys. Imagine the fervor if any other religious place of worship was drawn as the HQ of this hate group. 

This could have been an abandoned warehouse. A factory. Anything.

Roll on Knight Terrors.

In the Dan Jurgens/Lee Weeks story, Jon is captured in a lead cell. Princess Glyanna is clearly evil, ruling over the poor populace from her pampered castle. 

She asks Superman to quell the rebellion or she'll kill Jon. 

Superman sort of role plays to kill time hoping Jon will be able to reveal himself.

Weird Superman would even remotely play this game.

The Steel story by Dorado Quick and Yasmin Flores Montanez dovetailed nicely into Steelworks #1

It's Mr. Terrific who tells Jon that he has to take off the suit.

Interesting. I wonder if Quick and Michael Dorn discussed things.

So I really liked the opening story. These back-ups are fine. 

I don't know if Knight Terrors is going to help things or derail this book. Hopeful for the former.

Overall grade: B


Martin Gray said...

I didn’t feel the story was rushed, I’m certainly ready for it to be over, great as it’s been. I liked Kon-El being key to cutting down Henshaw - if we have to have so many Supers, let’s have the spotlight shared around.

I’m not keen on all the spreads, it makes for awkward negotiation on a digital reader. Bendis Action was full of the things too!

Boy, those Daily Planet types do love their editorialising!

I totally feel for Tracy, what a horrible situation, but still, her comment to John was horribly cruel.

The characterisation of Superman continues to be first rate, but everyone else is still underserved. I wish the Supers would go off to their own adventures.

I agree about the church HQ for the Blue Earth brigade… OK, they could have broken into it in-story, but creatively a choice was made.

I wish the Jon story had wrapped up, it’s good quality, but has had long enough to make its point.

The Steel story was better than last time, but it’s a very low bar. When he arrives, Mr T says ‘who do you think’ sent him… if Mr T is a Steelworks partner, why doesn’t he just pick up the phone? Who did send him? Why would John attack Michael? And why didn’t the security system tell John that Natasha was fighting off an attack? And I refuse to accept that John needs talking down from killing an opponent.

Great review!

Anonymous said...

"Love Sandoval's take on Superman. Love that hair!"

We all know you mean Supergirl's hair!

I hope your recuperation is continuing to go well!


Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I will edit TN!!